Chris Powell wants Town to kick the frustration of a last-gasp home loss to Middlesbrough into touch and focus on tomorrow’s visit of Wigan Athletic.

Grant Leadbitter’s stoppage-time penalty thwarted the John Smith’s Stadium side, who lost striker James Vaughan with a calf injury after just 26 minutes.

Town looked on course for a point after Jon Stead, Vaughan’s replacement, levelled Leadbitter’s first-half opener in the 86th minute.

 

But Tommy Smith’s needless foul on Adam Reach gave Boro the chance to snatch victory in front of their 3,514 fans in a 17,933 tickets-issued crowd.

It’s now 10 home matches without a win for Town, and Powell, whose side remain 21st in the Championship, admitted: “We need to improve.

“We should have got a point against a competitive side, and we worked ever so hard to get back into the game.

“It was a cheap way to give them three points, and it wasn’t a danger because the ball was going away from goal.

“Whether it was through a dip in concentration or a rush of blood, Tommy can’t give away fouls like that.

“We have to learn lessons, but we can’t dwell on this game. We have to bounce back fast.”

Powell is waiting for a full assessment of Vaughan’s injury and admits he may have to go with Stead and Nahki Wells against Wigan.

“They have both scored goals at this level and Steady has a lot of experience,” said the boss.

“I’ve found him really good since I arrived. He’s a Championship-level striker and I want him to keep showing that.”

Powell played skipper Lee Peltier in midfield rather than defence and explained: “I wanted his strength in there.

“We have quite offensive midfielders, and I was pleased with the way he went about things.”

On reports of a post-match tunnel skirmish between players, Powell said: “I understand there was a situation. But until I pin it down I don’t know what has happened.”